So you’ve had your first parkour lesson and you are coming back for more! Here are the modules of this lesson:
- Flexibility Training for Parkour
- Balance Training Progressions pt. 1
- Climbing Training Progressions pt. 1
- Upper Body Strength Training for Parkour pt. 1
- Final HIT Exercise pt. 2 – Burpees
Flexibility Training for Parkour
One of the most overlooked elements of a well-rounded parkour training regimen is stretching. Stretching helps with mainly injury prevention and improving your body’s range of motion. These both will in turn allow you to progress more quickly and prevent the delay of recovering from injuries. Here is a post about stretching for parkour and what you need to know. It was written by Alissa Bratz from Wisconsin Parkour and is an excellent look at stretching for parkour and all its different aspects. Before moving on with the lesson, we recommend you read over it and get a feel for why stretching will be an important part of your training.
A few things to keep in mind when stretching are to:
- Breathe normally while stretching. Don’t hold your breath.
- Stretching should be slightly uncomfortable, but NOT painful.
- RELAX when stretching. The body has a tendency to tense up. You need to relax and ease into and out of each stretch.
- When doing static stretches, don’t bounce to get deeper in the stretch. Sink slowly into every stretch.
Keeping these items in mind, below is a PDF with all of the stretches for after your parkour training sessions. Watch the video to see how to perform each stretch and proper methods of stretching.
Balance Training Progressions pt. 1
One of the most useful and “behind the scenes” skills in parkour is the ability to balance. You’ve seen parkour videos of traceurs doing big jumps to railings and landing without wavering. Well to get there, first we need to be able to balance on a handrail in the first place. There are many ways to train and improve your balance and we will cover a few shortly. Here are some general things to keep in mind while balancing to help you improve quickly:
- Start at ground level, only balance on higher objects when you are comfortable with it.
- When balancing, take a deep breath and RELAX. Balance can improve dramatically if you relax and avoid tensing up. Also, the more comfortable you are with balance over time, the less this will be an issue.
- When first balancing on higher rails, stay close to a wall or have a friend there for something to hold on to while getting more comfortable with the height.
Follow the progression in this video to work on your balance skills and learn some techniques to improve your balance and confidence.
Tip: Occasionally, I’ll post small exercises or things that you can do at home, school or work that will help your parkour training. This particular exercise is very simple. When you brush your teeth, close your eyes. You will notice that it is more difficult to balance with your eyes closed. This will help you get in tune with your equilibrium and improve your balance. Once this becomes easy, try lifting one leg to stand on one foot. Obviously open your eyes if you are going to fall, but try to find your center and balance eyes closed on one foot. The next step is to brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand (ie. Righties use your left hand).
Climbing Training Progressions pt. 1
This section is where some strength can make certain movements significantly easier. Climbing progressions certainly involve upper body strength, but more than that, getting good at climbing movements requires paying attention to technique. In this way, you don’t have to have a really strong upper body to be able to accomplish climb ups or other climbing moves. Also know going in, that if these techniques don’t come to you quickly or easily, that’s okay. Be prepared to put in some work to get good with climbing movements.
Here is some terminology when it comes to climbing movements. You may hear these same movements with different names elsewhere, but these are the names I will use to refer to the moves in these lessons:
- Traversing – To climb, but instead of going up, the objective is to move horizontally. -Note: There are many different traversing methods
- Cat Leap – To jump to a wall, grabbing the top with your hands and the side of the wall with your feet.
- Climb Up – To climb swiftly to the top of a wall in one smooth motion.
- Kip Up – Completing the climb up by landing with both feet on top of the wall.
The video below will give you a good progression to work toward your Climb Up technique. If it seems like it will take a lot of work and time to get the Climb Up, be assured that it just takes some dedication to get there.
Upper Body Strength Training pt. 1
Improving your upper body strength level will notably make a difference in your climbing movements and generally allow you to be faster and more fluid with these moves. Specifically, it helps with pulling during the Climb Up and then pushing up on top of the wall. It will also allow you to grab and hang on when it’s most important. All right, that’s enough talking about it, let’s get to it!
Final HIT Exercise pt. 2 – Burpees
Almost there! And now for our final intense exercise to work on our endurance and mental toughness. Remember, this is the last effort you will have to put into your training for this session so be sure to give it everything you’ve got. You will reap the rewards of your efforts! For Parkour Lesson 2, the Final Exercise is Burpees! Watch the video below to learn how to get the most out of this exercise.
The Parkour Lesson 2 PDF (found below) will show you recommended times for performing Burpees and getting the most out of them.
Putting It All Together
Great! In this lesson, we’ve learned about the importance of stretching and why we use it in our parkour practice. We’ve also covered basic balance, climbing techniques and learned some fundamental upper body strength training exercises. All there is left to do is put it all together into a training session. This PDF outlines the Training For Parkour Lesson 1 listing the exercises and movements to work during your training session. Print it out and take it with you so you don’t forget what to do next. Keep in mind you will have to remember what each exercise is and I recommend re-watching the videos after your first training session. This will help you check to make sure you were doing the techniques properly, but will also help you ingrain the movements in your body by re-watching them after your practice.
Notice that this parkour lesson includes a stretching portion at the end of the session. All lessons from here on will include a short stretching session with the stretches we covered at the lesson today. As mentioned previously, it is necessary to rest and fuel the body after working out so go get a good meal and relax. Generally it is also a good idea to take a day off between lessons when starting out as well so come on back in two days or so and we’ll continue to Lesson 3!